Peak Performance Biohacks That Will Help You to Becoming a Resilient Leader with Siim Land

What is the single most crucial factor that distinguishes great leaders from the rest?


Building resilience is vital to becoming a leader who can successfully navigate through challenges, which impacts the performance and engagement of their teams.

You may already know that to boost your resilience and increase your leadership performance, you need to have an optimal recovery, regular exercise, and the right nutrition. But did you know that magnesium plays a vital role in regulating the body’s response to stress?

In this interview, Reiner Kraft, PhD, and Siim Land dive deeper into the topic of nutrition, where Siim highlights that “Not getting enough magnesium will be bad for not the heart health also, but just general stress management and sleep.” Therefore, Siim shares the recommended intake for magnesium, the best types of magnesium supplements, and their benefits.

Furthermore, Siim Land shares his hacks to reach peak performance, such as getting more energy with intermittent fasting, a ketogenic diet, and achieving metabolic autophagy.

Interested to learn more?

Watch the interview or listen to the podcast here:

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Dr. Reiner Kraft 0:09

Hi, this is Reiner, founder of The Mindful Leader, and host of The Mindful Leader podcast. I have a special guest here today, Siim Land, and really excited to have, excited to have him here. He is a self-published best selling author, performance coach, author, speaker, but also a biohacker. And still and also at very young age, which is pretty cool. I looked the podcast and if you following it for a while, there is about 265 episodes out there what I was counting here, as many, many of them. And he wrote, wrote really a few good books. I studied one of the books, which is on minerals, it's called the Mineral Fix. But there's other books like Immunity Fix, Stronger by Stress, or the Metabolic Autophagy. So cool stuff. And maybe we can talk also a little bit about some some of the books because there is really helpful information in all of them. But first, again, welcome seem to have you actually here today. And we can have a good discussion, maybe, maybe you can start a little bit describing your own journey, just where you are, and then we can get started this way.

Siim Land 1:40

Yeah, for sure. Like, my journey, like dates back into, let's say, maybe high school, the end of high school. And then I started to just get involved with fitness and bodybuilding and just gym workouts, that sort of thing. After high school, I went through a military service here in Estonia. And during that time, I got very interested in like human adaptation, how can humans endure different kinds of physical stressors and psychological stressors as well. And that's why I've always kind of been fascinated by the cold and the heat and physical exercise, and even like, you know, fasting and those kind of things, I was already doing some sort of intermittent fasting in the military, and as well as a slightly before that. And so far, I've kept on doing this for over seven years, and up to like eight years by now. I started writing books about these topics in college, in the end of college, and yeah, the main, main kind of reason was that just, you know, share my experiences and build my own YouTube channel based upon that, and my blog and the podcast, and all kinds of those kinds of things. And yet, over the course of the years, I've just gathered like a following and written several additional books. One of the the ones that you mentioned, and yeah, now I do the same things. Plus, you know, how public speaking and coaching and that kind of thing.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 3:24

Very cool. I mean, it's definitely impressive to see the prolific, there's lots of content there. And in particularly, as I mentioned, at the beginning, this book around minerals, is a lot of not have deep content, also very scientifically validated and everything, it's probably was a lot of work, my guess. But it is actually helpful to have a book like this. This is a good example, when I started digging more in the past years in minerals, I couldn't really find a good one, one way of like, everything is condensed together, right, because it was clear to me when starting also my own journey on biohacking many years ago, that what you have in the body, right, needs to be in a good needs to be well maintained and in the right dosage so that at the end of the body has enough building blocks to make things happen. And if there's a shortage on any of them, you'll notice very quickly, right? Maybe share a little bit on this.

Siim Land 4:36

The motivation for this book, because it's not a, I wouldn't say it's usually like a fancy topic because I mean, it's just minerals, right. But actually, this is the foundation I would I would say on my experience with biohacking. Yeah, well, I co-authored it with Dr. James DiNicolantonio, and he's, one of his first books was the Salt Fix that talks about the actual role of sodium and salt in the diet, and kind of refuted some of the misconceptions about salt intake and things like high blood pressure and that kind of thing. And he gained a lot of like, fame from that. And now he, like last year, he wanted to do, yeah, like people have asked me like, Hey, do another book about minerals, then you had the salt, the minerals. And so far, he hadn't done that yet. And he just, you know, reached out to me to do it together, sort of say, and but before, before we determine the Mineral Fix, we do the Immunity Fix first. So yeah, the Immunity Fix came first, and the Mineral Fix came out this, like, maybe February or spring, somewhere around there. And, yeah, the book, you know, why we would want to write a book about minerals is that you'd like I said that the minerals are quite fundamental in the human body. And they run basically every process starting with energy production, neurotransmitter production, and ending with, you know, sleep, relaxation, and blood sugar management, and all those things. They require some minerals, and there are like 17 minerals, essential minerals that we need. And like, a lot of people may not be getting the optimal amounts of those minerals, when it comes to their food intake. And yeah, like deficiencies can be quite, quite high, or like quite widespread, like even like, let's say, one, one in three people may have like up to 10 sub optimal mineral statuses. And yeah, like, you don't really notice that immediately, like, it's not going to be that immediate thing that you notice. But over the course of, you know, decades, etc, it will have like a quite a negative effect on your quality of life, and as well as like potential quantity of life. So yeah, the book is going to teach you all the bottles, minerals, the history, the functions, the science, and the ways we get it, how much which foods and in what, like, ratios with the other raw minerals that you're going to need.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 7:16

Yeah, it's it's quite a complex, complex topics for sure. And so, looking at my audience here for the podcast is usually leaders, tech leaders, people working as professionals in the tech field is usually a notion of performance or doing working at a high performance, right? There's lot deadlines, pressures, all the stuff going on. It's crazy. Sometimes as I, myself, I've worked in the tech industry for more than 20 years. So I know, but a lot of stuff going on. Now, given this audience, who are listening now, right. And you mentioned it before, what minerals are doing in terms of being involved in pretty much all metabolic processes in the body. And so there was already heard some motivation by those leaders who will actually care about these minerals. But maybe talking about energy levels. So when I think about leadership performance, right, I immediately think about resilience, I think about energy levels. As one of the, one of the key, basically capabilities that you have to have as a leader, because there's always lots of work that needs to get done. As I said, there could be deadlines or there are deadlines, you have to deliver under pressure, right. And that can lead to quite a, I would say, like a busy or sometimes hectic lifestyle. Maybe share a little bit when why those leaders, first of all, should care about minerals, and maybe describe some also of the symptoms to see, because this could be something where they may see themselves already in where it's happening to me so they can maybe identify also a little bit more or less this.

Siim Land 9:15

Yeah, well, I think I'll start with one of the biggest deficiencies, which is magnesium and the the consequences of magnesium deficiency can lead to just, you know, cardiovascular disease and strokes. So that's something that a lot of like high-performance already may suffer from, because of like, extra stress and they're not sleeping enough and that kind of thing. What, what research finds is that there's almost like this linear association between magnesium intake and the amount of calcification that you your body experiences. So that will just you know, promote atherosclerosis and which will eventually lead to cardiovascular disease. So yeah, like not getting enough magnesium will be bad for not only the heart health, also but just general stress management and sleep. So magnesium, yeah, is involved in like hundreds of processes inside the body. So with energy production and stress management incidents, that activity and that kind of thing. What usually, you know, people may notice is that, yeah, they feel like just like the anxious and jittery every once in a while, not, things don't seem like you know that everything is fine, or there's something like, our subconscious keeping them in this arouse, arose the state, so that can be for sure like a magnesium deficiency symptom. But yeah, generally you you, you will need to, you know, you do like a blood test to see like the actual deficiency and yeah, most of the time is going to be associated with like stress and high blood pressure, and just kind of given like, you know, excess, high blood sugar, that kind of thing.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 11:01

You also mentioned impact on sleep quality as well, right. Which is then, of course, like the vicious cycle, because then you can't sleep and then stress builds up even more. There's even more negative consequences on the body and then on the performance next day. So yeah, I mean, for those listening here, this was one key thing, magnesium, where I'm sure most people heard about magnesium. But actually, you mentioned first, there were some symptoms that you described, right, that come with magnesium deficiencies. And prior to that, you mentioned some numbers on how many people are basically deficient, it was a large fraction, right, on magnesium.

Siim Land 11:52

Yeah, the approximate amount is somewhere between, like 50 to 70% of people may be deficient. And yeah, like, it depends on the region, probably, and that depends on the particular lifestyles. So, magnesium is really hard to find in whole foods, because a lot of the soil is also depleted from the minerals, especially like magnesium, and the refining and processing of food will almost destroy all of the magnesium. So refined oils, refined grains, sugars, those things don't have like almost any magnesium. And yeah, the even the whole foods, the higher sources of magnesium in whole foods are, you know, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hemp, hemp, protein, those kinds of things. And most people don't really eat them. So yeah, that's, that's one of the, like, biggest reasons why magnesium deficiencies are so widespread. And like stress, stress itself and high blood sugar, that will also lead to this spiral that depletes magnesium further, and yeah, that's gonna be even worse.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 13:04

Yeah. And that's, I mean, that's the thing, right with this lifestyle, working in leadership or working in general in, in high tech, with deadlines, and all this kind of setup, there is a lot of cognitive load. And that means a lot of magnesium, right, and of course, other minerals as well. But I think we'll pick on this particular one here for now, given its importance, so you have on one side, an increased demand body needs more, but then what you just said is that in typical nutrition, usually you won't get enough What about like the water, water intake? Because that's a big one, how you can get also some magnesium?

Siim Land 13:48

Yeah, well, if it is mineral water, then it does have some magnesium in it. And mineral waters are really pretty, like good and healthy for you. Because they do provide like this very bioavailable source of these minerals, at least some of them, like it does give you some magnesium or depends on the mineral water. And some of them are give more, some less. But yeah, they have like some calcium, magnesium, potassium, bicarbonate, sodium, maybe some other minor minerals as well. But yeah, you absorb more of the minerals from water, or like a liquid. And yeah, you know, that, that's kind of thing like you can absorb the magnesium also through the skin through transdermally. So like salt baths, or the spas, those things mineral mineral baths. Those do have also like the effect that you absorb those minerals, which is also one of those like sea water can be something that you absorb through.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 14:52

Unfortunately, some of this, so I just did a test on the mineral levels on my tap water at home. I wanted to, wanted to see what's actually in there. So it's actually pretty good. I have some water ionizer and filtration system that keeps the good minerals in there tries to remove all those heavy metals, obviously. And so the test came back was definitely quite good. But when I was looking at the magnesium level, I think it was 17 milligrams or so per liter, which is not, not necessarily high. I think, like this mineral waters that you mentioned, usually, I think they have to have at least 100 milligrams per liter to be recognized as a healing water or something like this. Right? So given, given this, this dosage, what are in your opinion, then, in terms of the daily amount of optimal intake of magnesium for, let's say, for this type of leaders, for people who work under in more stressful environments? What would be the optimal intake? And then at the end of the day, how would you actually get to these levels, right, because what I just said, just taking the tap water isn't, is not going to cut it. I should probably drink, I don't know, 10 liters or more per day.

Siim Land 16:20

Yeah, the, the RDA, the recommended intake for magnesium is like 400 to 420 milligrams. But you may need you know, up to 500 in some cases, you want to get at least you know, 400 but yeah, depending on your stress level, and depending on your level of resistance, and magnesium deficiency, you may need up to like 500, or some people even like 1000 if they want to like replenish their magnesium status. So depends on the individual. One, you know, just sign of excess magnesium intake can be just like gastrointestinal problems or diarrhea. So your body will kind of titrate the, the like ceiling where you will start to get too much magnesium. And the way to get it is yeah, you know, the foods, like I said, pumpkin seeds and almonds and spinach a little bit those things, they don't have like a substantial amount, it would be good to like drink some mineral water if you have like a good brand that has, you know, 100 milligrams, or 200 milligrams of that. So you could easily yeah, like I get the majority that you need with that. But you know, using some sort of a magnesium supplement is also a great option. Because you know, it simple. And it's kind of something that you get out, get out of the way, if that makes sense.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 17:42

So, from the numbers, what I what I'm hearing is, so probably five 600 milligram could be a good daily dosage. And of course, if you have deficiencies, it could even be higher, to fill it up again, over a few weeks probably, or at least my guess, my experience, it's very tedious to fill these levels up. It's not, it's not that straightforward. And you mentioned another point, which is oh, yeah, it's not that easy that for instance, you just go there and find some magnesium supplement and you just pop the pills in there and that's it. It's unfortunately not, it's not going to work like this because you're quickly hitting the ceiling if, if you're taking too much at once. Probably run to the toilet very quickly. And so. So it's a tricky part. So if if people say well, my water isn't that great, there is not that much magnesium in there, maybe I'll try to get some healing water and with a higher magnesium, basically, mineral minerals in there. But in fact, of course, if you if you're not eating processed food, but you're trying to eat basically whole wholesome organic fruit, you may get some cover a little bit, maybe half of it, who knows. It's something to figure out, right. But if they go for the supplement, I mentioned already a few pitfalls. Could you share some practical tips how to how to approach this topic? Because that's actually another quite complex one.

Siim Land 19:22

Yeah, well, generally, you can, like you there are different types of magnesium or like different key lights that is attached to you. And being also have, let's say, different regions of the body that the effects. So there's magnesium L-threonate that is mostly used by the brain. There's orotate for the heart, taurate for the heart, malate for LH production, citrate for the gut. So yeah, like different types of it. Generally, you could use any kind of magnesium and you will still raise your magnesium status with that. It's just a some absorb a bit better and some have a lack, worse, poor or like a bit worse bioavailability. So, yeah, like, generally you can easily, if you take like a sufficient amount as a supplement, it doesn't really matter what type it is, as long as you can just reach it easily. But yeah, there are like some better ones, like the better ones are the L-threonate, orotate, malate, taurate, bisglycinate are kind of the better ones, the best ones. And the worst ones would be like oxide or citrate, ascorbate, those kinds of things. Yeah, so yeah, then my, my favorite ones are taurate, bisglycinate, orotate and L-threonate.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 20:46

Yeah, those are those are good ones. Unfortunately, I haven't, I was experimenting with all kinds of different magnesium supplements over the past years, there are a few good ones now available that mix those things nicely up. So make it simple, right, because you don't want to think about those different seven, eight, how many different forms, you want to keep it simple. It's unfortunate, unfortunate, if you want to get like the L-threonate that you just mentioned, which was good for a brain. So to fill up magnesium levels in the brain. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a mix of threonate combined with all the other forms or most of the other forms. So it's still a little bit tricky that we have to do a little bit of surgeon at the end, you may end up taking one two or three different types of magnesium, if you really want to go fancy and optimize it. Or have you find found a better solution on this yet.

Siim Land 21:50

The magnesium that I'm taking is a magnesium breakthrough that has seven different types of magnesium in it. So it has orotate, bisglycinate, malate, some other ones as well. So yeah, that's what that's what one of the best solutions I using at the moment. So yeah, no, no, I may I may go through like some periods where I'm using only like, citrate or if I'm using only bisglycinate or something. So yeah, generally like I'm not super concerned with that, because I do think that I my natural magnesium intake is also like relatively high.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 22:26

Yeah, that's a good one, I taking it myself, we'll put a link in the in the show notes to all that stuff. So people can configure it all. It's from the biOptimizers. And I actually had asked them the same question around. So they have this nice mix and everything. But then there is no threonate in there. Because of some, they had some basic maybe licensing or I forgot what it was, there was an issue that they couldn't put it in there. And so now I need to get my threonate from a different brand and find it. So it's a little bit tricky. But anyhow, I mean, the so the idea in general is okay, you could start with some supplementation, try to eat more foods, try to figure out what kind of mineral water what you're suggesting as well to get to this at least 400 to 600 probably milligrams per day. The key thing, however, is going even before this when you said, "oh yeah let's figure out do Am I actually deficient in magnesium." That's another tricky question. Because if you were to go now to the doctor and let's say do some blood work, I mean, what's your experience there? It's, it's not, it's not an easy call, right? Because depending on those levels, for instance, if you measure it in serum blood.

Siim Land 23:57

Yeah, yeah, like that can be misleading. The best one generally is the red blood cell magnesium. So that will be like the most indication of magnesium that's actually being you know, inside the body or used. To hear mineral can also be that you're you know excreting the magnesium. So yeah, I think that red blood cell is kind of the gold, gold standard for magnesium.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 24:23

So recommendation here would be anyhow to basically run a lab test. See, what's the error and if the if the amount is probably more on the lower side. It's clear there is some deficiency, then the question is how severe is it? And then basically getting started with the combination of water, mineral water, some food and possibly some supplements right and doing this. If someone actually has deficiency, they should relatively, relatively quickly results, right? What's your, what's your experience there? How long does it take if you, if you try to get actually do these four or five 600 milligrams per day? How fast do you see changes?

Siim Land 25:16

Well, depends on the severity of the deficiency and the health of the person. Well, magnesium works like pretty flat fast. Like, if you take like a large dose, like 1000 milligrams, or 600 milligrams in one sitting, then you will like notice as a potential difference, even like, you know, so that means we're an hour later. So, yeah, I think that it, you know, does work pretty fast, at least in terms of the absorption and the some of the physiological effects that you experience to, let's say, fully replenish, let's say deficiency in magnesium or to have like this reversal of atherosclerosis or calcification, then that would take a bit longer. But, yeah, like, the effects are for both short term and long term.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 26:03

Now, you mentioned I think, taking one big dose, usually, I think, if you can, so what I what I also experimented with is basically splitting up splitting up over the day to like, not have small dosages in terms of getting more continuous stream of magnesium in other considerations, when the best time basically on over the day, what what do you recommend, like for people, morning, evening, all in between, with meals without meals? what's your what's your recommendation there?

Siim Land 26:45

Well, I usually it's not good to take it with a fatty meal, because the fat reduces the absorption of magnesium. So taking on an empty stomach is really good, actually. So yeah, either like in the morning or in the evening is the best time to take it. So yeah, like in the evening, it would help with relaxation and sleep. In the morning, it would be also like maybe beneficial if you have like high blood sugar or something that. It, coffee for example, it does make you lose a bit magnesium, but not like a large amount you lose mostly like sodium through coffee and urination. About not enough for magnesium. So yeah, I think it's safe to take it on empty stomach at any time. It's good thing is one one thing maybe to point out there is a relationship also with other minerals like calcium, right, I think. So let's say you take too much magnesium, it has an impact on calcium levels as well, right? Well, usually, like the excess calcium, in relation to magnesium is going to be like bad because of promoting calcification and lateral sclerosis. But like, too much magnesium, or, like a lot more magnesium than calcium generally doesn't have like any real, like, bad side effects. So, okay. Yeah, it's much, much worse the other way around where you're getting not enough magnesium than more calcium.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 28:21

I mean, clear, the guidance in general is, what I learned over the years is also calcium, you basically don't want to actually supplement; there is usually enough food. So the the shortage usually is the magnesium, right and with the numbers that you mentioned before, there is a high probability that any listener now who's listening to this has one of these magnesium deficiencies. And it looks like there is an easy fix to do it. It's not that complicated, but it requires definitely some some commitment. Because you have to do it regularly. Right? If you just do it once or twice, then you'll forget about it. Maybe supplements go in some box in the in the closet, and then you never think about it again. You're in, in a week or two, you're back where you were before, right. So that's one of the hard things is how to integrate it into your daily routine, basically. Yeah, yeah. Okay, so now, I think we have covered a lot of magnesium. I think this is very actionable stuff. We'll put links there, for sure. But going back to the topic of leadership performance, so magnesium definitely will do the trick to help with some of those symptoms that you mentioned before. But usually there is more right to increasing leadership performance, and particularly talking about resilience and energy levels, right. What are the other categories? And of course we know there is sleep, there's exercise, there's nutrition, those are the big ones. But let's take in a little bit deeper on practical things one can do to improve, yeah, performance basically.

Siim Land 30:13

You mean in terms of like mental performance things?

Dr. Reiner Kraft 30:16

Yeah, mental performance, but general performance, right? It's not just mental performance. But people have to basically have to be very active, they can be lots of meetings, running, running around in, in large office spaces, right. And so it's definitely an impact for sure, I would say, in the majority is on mental performance. But if you think about performance, as I said, in terms of resilience and energy levels, and then looking at these three categories, maybe for each category, we can deep dive a little bit and see if there's some low hanging fruits that people listeners to this podcast can basically take out.

Siim Land 31:00

Yeah, absolutely. Like, well, I do think that performance itself requires a lot of optimal recovery. So to perform at your best during daytime, and you also need to sleep best had at nighttime. So yeah, that means going to bed at the right time and getting the right amount hours of sleep. Because yeah, your body and brain are both of them are appeared themselves during sleep, you, you know, create new connections in the brain. And you clear out the toxins, etc. So if you're like, say, not sleeping enough, then your concentration declines, your focus declines, you get more, more angry easily, you flip off more easily. So yeah, I think that you, you essentially need to have adequate sleep to perform at your best. So that's gonna be the kind of the foundation. Other things for performing at your peak would be, you know, there's, of course, you know, just being fit and healthy is also like a key component because you're, you know, your body. It's requires to be exerted just as an extent with exercise to stay healthy. And the exercise also has been found to have like doing a profound effects on the brain. So increases neuroplasticity and neurogenesis helps with depression and helps with, yeah, all different kinds of things. So it's one of the best like forms of medicine, or drugs, that is there to help with just feeling and, you know, being great. So I think if people do regular exercise, then or especially like, immediately after exercise, then you do notice like a small high in terms of your alertness and focus, because you invigorated yourself, you increased like adrenaline and all these slight stress hormones, but they do have a positive effect on your performance in the short term, because of putting yourself into the zone or accurately making you more alert in a particular moment. So I think, sleeping well, exercising, and lastly, would also be, you know, some aspects of, let's say, you know, nutrition, in a sense. But that nutrition can also include, you know, supplementation, and nootropics, or things like that. But I think that the most important thing is yeah, some sort of diet that doesn't cloud your thinking, like a lot of people may just experience suboptimal cognition, because of the brain is not getting enough energy, or getting like distracted by cravings and hunger signals. So if you're, if you're struggling with you, or if you can, you know, focus on like meeting without thinking about food out on the letter, again, that can be certainly a huge issue. So a diet that helps you dissolve that should be something that keeps your blood sugar relatively stable, doesn't make you crave certain foods, junk foods, and also provides this stable energy source of energy. So usually, like a high super high, like a high carbohydrate meal, will lead to some sort of a drop off after the blood sugar rush has gone through, your insulin crushes, and you're, you know, finding yourself in this situation where you want to take a nap after lunch, for example. And yeah, that's mostly the result of this blood sugar crash. And you can avoid that by just you know, blunting that blood sugar response a little bit, eating more fibrous foods, high protein foods with some healthy fats. And that would balance the blood sugar level the balanced energy levels and also like know, keeps you in the zone for longer. So it's a it's a good idea to teach your body to be very like energy efficient and more energy like resourceful so that you, you don't need to be snacking all the time.

Dr. Reiner Kraft 35:02

Yeah, and that's that's for sure an issue that all the things that you mentioned the crash, right people snacking, there's more sugar and all that stuff. Yeah, and it makes make things worse. Now my experience a ketogenic diet with some carb cycling combined with intermittent fasting it's probably within the biohacking community, I would say mostly the standard. And what what's your favourite approach? Looking personally, but what do you eat basically?

Siim Land 35:39